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Syncing Up with Automatic Sync

March 2011 Volume 6
Automatic Sync offers broadcasters, educational institutions and government agencies a transcribing and captioning service for media. CaptionSync was funded by a US Department of Education grant to research and develop a cost-effective way to automate the process of making media accessible to comply with a variety of federal and state and local laws.

Cover Story

NBC Learn Captions its Archives with CaptionSync

NBC Learn is the education arm of NBC News, making the video archives of NBC News available to teachers, students, schools and universities. The extensive video archive at NBC Learn will be a valuable asset for K-12 and Higher Ed institutions alike. Automatic Sync Technologies (AST) is proud to have been selected as the captioning provider for NBC Learn. AST’s CaptionSync service will be providing closed captioning for video appearing on the NBC Learn website.

NBC Learn Logo

The NBC Learn archive contains thousands of videos covering a broad range of topics. Making that content widely accessible was an essential component of the NBC Learn project. Michael Levin, Director, Sales Operations for NBC Learn says, “Making the valuable content in the NBC Learn archives as accessible as possible is very important to NBC, not just to meet compliance requirements, but also to make this content accessible to the broadest possible audience. AST's CaptionSync is a great solution for our needs -- allowing us to caption a vast amount of material very quickly and easily.”

In the past few months, NBC Learn has captioned thousands of video clips using CaptionSync. Check out the archive at www.nbclearn.com to see examples of AST’s captioning on the NBC Learn website.

Company News

AST Announces Spanish Language Captioning

Keyboard showing Spanish characters

AST is pleased to announce that Spanish language transcription, captioning and subtitling are now available through our CaptionSync service. For several years CaptionSync has provided an efficient and cost-effective captioning solution for English media and that same high level of service is now available to our clients with Spanish media files. Whether you are providing your own transcripts or need AST to produce the transcript for you, we can easily accommodate your Spanish media. CaptionSync now supports all of the special characters used in Spanish, and those characters will render correctly in all of the caption and subtitle output formats which support them.

AST se complace en anunciar que los servicios de transcripción, capción y subtitulación en español están ahora disponibles a través de CaptionSync. Durante varios años, CaptionSync ha proporcionado una solución eficiente y económica para la producción de capciones para medios en inglés. Ahora, este mismo servicio de alta calidad está disponible para nuestros clientes que tengan contenido en español. Sin importar si usted proporciona sus propios textos o necesita que AST se los produzca, podemos fácilmente trabajar con audio y video en español – con los símbolos en español fielmente reproducidos en todos los formatos de capción y subtítulos que respaldamos.

AST Awarded System-Wide Captioning Contract with University of Wisconsin

AST is pleased to announce that the University of Wisconsin awarded AST a system-wide contract to provide captioning and transcription services. The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest university systems in the country, serving more than 178,000 students. This is the latest major post-secondary education system to award a system-wide contract for captioning to AST (the California State University system did so in 2008, and the California Community College system did so in 2009 for its DECT grant). Under this contract, AST's services are available to all 13 universities and 13 colleges in the University of Wisconsin system, as well as all 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System. We commend the University of Wisconsin for taking a leadership role in ensuring equal access to its content and are proud to be part of this effort.

Customer Spotlight

Oklahoma City Community College appreciates Ease and Speed of CaptionSync

John Richardson, Coordinator of Online Marketing at Oklahoma City Community College, is a satisfied user of Automatic Sync Technologies. OCCC captions all of its public website marketing and informational videos. The school also has an active YouTube channel for its campus where you may see these videos.

Oklahoma City Community College Logo

The College started captioning all public videos in 2009 to meet ADA compliance laws. They started by transcribing and captioning in-house but soon discovered that the process was time-consuming, inefficient and difficult to manage.

In early 2010, OCCC started using AST for generating caption files. Of his experience, Richardson says "AST's service is so affordable, I don't know why anyone would not use their service. Captioning on our own was such a hassle. Now we submit videos to AST and get them back quickly and we couldn't be happier."

When OCCC was captioning in-house, they had a backlog of videos that could not be published to the website because they had no captions. Using AST for captioning, allowed them to publish this content quickly. Richardson adds, "AST broke free our logjam of publishing videos. We no longer need to wait to publish, we simply have AST do the captioning. And it's so inexpensive. I recommend AST to everyone who is publishing videos to their website. Now we can add videos to our YouTube channel practically whenever we want. It's a no-brainer." Other departments at OCCC plan to start using AST this year for captioning their video content after Richardson explained to them how easy AST's CaptionSync service is to use.

Check out OCCC's website.

Legislative News

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act Becomes Law

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was signed into law by President Obama in October (2010). The new law brings the ADA into the digital age by significantly improving communication technology & media experiences for the hearing and visually impaired. Features of the new law include:

President Obama signing the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
  • Closed captioning for online TV programs.
  • Improved smart phone user interfaces for Web access.
  • Insures compatibility of equipment for internet phone calls and hearing aids.
  • Access to closed captioning for TV broadcasts via the remote control.
  • Audible descriptions of TV action and improved access to TV menus for the visually impaired.
  • Financial support for qualifying deaf-blind Americans needing assistive communications technology.

The ADA and FCC laws put in place 20 years ago could not have foreseen the popularity of the internet and its variety of uses. The rapid evolution of technology outpaced equal access legislation -- until now. Recent court decisions and now this legislation suggest that the government intends to fill the gaps quickly by requiring businesses to comply with accessibility standards for web services and web broadcasts.

These changes reflect an increasing awareness of accessibility issues. We believe these changes are positive as the increased awareness and attention should eventually simplify the task of those charged with ensuring content accessibility at public institutions.

 

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Reaches Milestone

Outline of Ontario geography

2010 marked a milestone for assessing the lofty goals set by AODA back in 2005. Accessibility for Customer Service is the first of five standards the Province has examined and made mandatory for most of Ontario's public sector. Organizations such as school boards, colleges, municipalities and the Ontario government are now required to comply with the standard and provide accessible service to everyone. This of course includes ease of access to information posted on websites and effective communication with persons with disabilities.

The AODA's ultimate goal is to make daily living in Ontario "barrier free" for all people by 2025. The next accessibility standards to be acted upon are information and communications, transportation, employment, and built environments. For more information check out the AODA Annual Report.

AST provides many college, university, municipal and government groups with captioning for their web media. We can bring your content into compliance quickly and cost effectively. Let us know how we can help you.

Partnership News

ReelSurfer Partners with Automatic Sync

AST is pleased to announce a partnership with ReelSurfer. ReelSurfer helps take your captions beyond accessibility and use them to power video search for your website, improve your SEO, and allow viewers to clip and share video easily. ReelSurfer works with several leading providers of content within the education, online video and entertainment segments. ReelSurfer can be found at www.reelsurfer.com.

ReelSurfer Logo

AST's partnership with ReelSurfer facilitates the transcription and captioning of video assets from within ReelSurfer’s web-based video search platform. ReelSurfer is now fully integrated with AST’s CaptionSync service, allowing ReelSurfer users to caption videos with just a few mouse clicks. This new feature allows users to make their video content accessible and compliant with state and federal accessibility laws, as well as enable a powerful search capability for viewers.

The ReelSurfer platform also allows viewers to rapidly find and make clips from existing videos, making it a simple matter to find, create, and organize tailored content from your video archive.

“Captioning offers so many benefits beyond accessibility; this partnership offers many of our users a simple path to realize the powerful benefits of video search that captioning can enable,” said Brent Robertson, SVP of Marketing at Automatic Sync Technologies.

Neil Joglekar, Co-Founder of ReelSurfer adds, “Video captions are a key enabler for the search functionality that the ReelSurfer platform offers; this important addition to the ReelSurfer platform offers our users a simple and efficient workflow to get their videos captioned.”

Read more about using CaptionSync with ReelSurfer.

 

CaptionSync Service for Brightcove Online Video Platform

Brightcove Logo

AST recently expanded its service offerings to streamline the captioning process for users of the Brightcove video platform. Brightcove is used by some of the world's most recognized organizations and brands to deliver video to audiences on a broad variety of devices, and it recently added improved support for captions. AST now supports Brightcove's preferred caption format and has also added features that will help Brightcove users automate their workflow processes when adding captions to videos. Watch for more features to support Brightcove soon.

 

CaptionSync Delivers Captions for Camtasia

Automatic Sync Technologies recently announced that CaptionSync delivers captions for TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio 7.1 and Camtasia for Mac. Camtasia users can easily add captions to their videos faster and more affordably than before, thereby enhancing accessibility and usability. Additionally the captions are completely searchable, empowering viewers to quickly find relevant points in the video. These caption files are available immediately at no additional cost to AST users.

Camtasia Logo

The new Camtasia coupled with our CaptionSync caption files makes captioning scalable for any institution or business. Furthermore, captioned content in Camtasia Studio 7.1 is now searchable, powered by the closed caption data.

Because it’s now so easy to import captions into Camtasia, users can not only make their video accessible to the deaf, hard of hearing, those with learning disabilities, and those with English as a second language, but they can also deliver video search to benefit all viewers, at no additional cost.

Watch our How-To Tutorial on using CaptionSync with Camtasia for full details. More information about Camtasia Studio 7.1 and Camtasia for Mac can be found at www.techsmith.com/camtasia.

Events

Upcoming Conferences

Tech Tidbits

AST Introduces New URL List Feature

Do you have a bunch of URLs you would like us to caption and/or transcribe, such as a list of YouTube videos, videos on your webserver or FTP site? Our new Submit a List of URLs feature can help you out! With this feature, we will download the media files for you, send them off for captioning and transcription (or transcription only) and email results back to you.

Screen shot of URL lists interface

A few things to keep in mind:

  • It works in a similar fashion to submitting a group of files via AST-Link, except we download the files for you.
  • You can add notes to the transcriber, but keep in mind that like AST-Link, they will be added to all the submissions.
  • You can choose to have results emailed either as they are completed or when the whole list is completed (this is the same as submitting as a batch with AST-Link).
  • Since this is automated, your URL needs to be to the media file itself -- not just to a page containing the media (e.g. http://www.somewebsite.com/fishing/video/lvideo.wmv rather than http://www.somewebsite.com/fishing/intro.html ).

If have transcription only with your account, you can submit a list to be transcribed. You just need to make sure you've selected the correct submission type first.

To enable this feature on your account, go to the help page (upper right after login) and submit a support ticket requesting the List of URLs feature.

Resources

Useful Resources

  • WHY NOT USE SPEECH REC? - Check out this very entertaining look at why you should not use speech recognition solutions for captioning.

  • HOW-TO-TUTORIALS - We're always updating and developing new web tutorials for captioning with emerging technologies. Be sure to check our website's How-To Tutorials page for updates and additions of videos for captioning with various technologies using CaptionSync.

  • HIGH TECH TRAINING CENTER - The HTCTU is an accessibility traning resource for the California Community College system, but is a offers a great resource for accessibility information and recommendations. See http://www.htctu.net/

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